Cool response to suggestion to get streetlights switched on

The  A158 in Jubilee Way, Horncastle. Would you pay more to keep street lights switched on for longer? Photo: John Aron.
The A158 in Jubilee Way, Horncastle. Would you pay more to keep street lights switched on for longer? Photo: John Aron.
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Horncastle residents have given a ‘thumbs down’ to suggestions they would be prepared to pay extra council tax to get street lights switched back on.

In April 2016, Lincolnshire County Council began a ‘streetlight transformation programme’ in a bid to save £1.7m a year from its £5m streetlighting budget.

As a result, around 42,000 streetlights were switched off between midnight and 6am.

Most are in residential areas and Horncastle has not avoided the cuts, with parts of the town plunged into darkness leading to concerns about safety and a potential increase in crime.

The County Council has launched a review into the changes, and members of the public have until this Friday (January 5) to comment.

At a meeting last month, Horncastle town councillors indicated feedback from residents suggested they would pay additional council tax to secure more lighting.

Town council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said the comments came from several residents who attended a surgery.

Coun Burbidge stressed it was ‘only a handful’ of residents and the feedback was not necessarily representative.

He was backed by Coun Angela Birchall who has previously raised issues about safety in several areas of the town - including Prospect Street.

However, several people told the News that they felt they already paid enough council tax - particularly as bills are expected to increase this year.

Michael Powell (34) said: “I don’t think many people would agree to pay - just for a few more lights.

“To be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference really and I don’t think there are many people about between midnight and 6am - except a few shift workers.”

Ann Hepton (46) added: “We pay enough in council tax and the council should provide decent services instead of all the money it spends on wages, expenses and pensions.”

Lisa Andrews (58) said: “If we pay more for streetlights that will be just the start of paying separately for other things. We already pay for green bins which is an extra tax. Do we starting paying for normal bins?”

Lincolnshire County Council is currently carrying out a formal review into the impact of part-night lighting, looking at topics including:

•the environment

•road collisions

•crime rates

•safety and crime

•emergency services

•health and public health services

•businesses and the night time economy

As part of that process, people are being asked to complete a short questionnaire to share their views. So far, more than 3,500 people have taken part.

To complete the survey, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/streetlighting . Alternatively, call 01522 782070.

All responses must be received by 5pm tomorrow (Friday, January 5).